50 Famous People You Didn’t Know Were Left-Handed
Left-handed people make up only about 10 percent of the population. But that 10 percent has made quite an impact.
Prince George (and maybe Princess Charlotte)
Now six years old, it has become clear that Prince George prefers his left hand, just like his father, Prince William. Although it has not yet been confirmed, it appears that George’s little sister, Princess Charlotte, may be a lefty as well. Pictured here at the age of two, she points with her left hand, which can be seen as a sign of hand choice.
Sophie, Countess of Wessex
One daughter-in-law of Queen Elizabeth II is known to be left-handed and has been photographed numerous times signing with her left hand—Sophie, Countess of Wessex. Born Sophie Rhys Jones, the Countess is the wife of Prince Edward, Queen Elizabeth’s youngest child. Find out more things you didn’t know about the British royal family.
King George VI
The father of Queen Elizabeth II, King George VI preferred his left hand to his right but was forced to use his right hand, as was standard for left-handed children in the 20th century. As an adult, however, he was often seen playing tennis using his left hand as dominant.
President James Garfield
President Garfield was the last U.S. president to be born in a log cabin (in 1831) but the first who was known to write with his left hand. That said, Garfield wrote with both hands and could speak and write in several different languages and was considered “ambidextrous” rather than left-handed during his lifetime. This can be attributed both to his ambidexterity and the fact that being left-handed was considered a negative, if not altogether sinister, characteristic until as recently as the mid-20th century.
President Herbert Hoover
The 31st U.S. president, Herbert Hoover, who was born in 1874, is believed to have been left-handed, according to History.com, but it’s difficult to confirm because he may have hidden it. Many photos of Hoover depict him as a righty, like the one here, but it’s entirely possible he was just “posing” and not really comfortable holding a pen in his right hand.
President Harry S. Truman
Another left-handed president born in the 19th century was Harry S. Truman. Truman is known to have been forced by his schoolteachers and parents to use his right hand despite a preference for using his left, according to David McCullough, author of Truman.
President Ronald Reagan
President Reagan may have been born a natural lefty but may have been retrained to use his right hand. As a result, Reagan became equally facile at using his left and his right hands and was known for being ambidextrous. Check out even more presidential trivia.
President Gerald Ford
Born in 1913 and never actually elected as president or even vice-president (he was appointed vice president by President Richard Nixon after the resignation of elected-Vice President Spiro Agnew, and he became president after Nixon resigned), President Ford may have been the first openly left-handed president. He’s shown here signing a document with his left hand.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Being left-handed can be an advantage for pianists. Mozart was known to be ambidextrous (which would be even better for pianists than just being left-handed), but he may well have been born with a preference for his left hand and forced to learn to use his right hand.
While some right-handed guitarists play left-handed guitar, Jimi Hendrix was a lefty who played his guitar left-handed too. Although there is some evidence he may have been “mixed-right-handed,” according to one University of Toledo professor who wrote on the subject.
David Bowie wrote with his left hand but played his guitar with his right.
Like Sandy Koufax, Babe Ruth, aka “The slugger,” was a southpaw (along with Ty Cobb, Ted Williams, Lefty Grove, Barry Bonds, and Warren Spahn, among others). While left-handers are at a mechanical disadvantage when it comes to playing catcher (as well as second base, shortstop, and third base), it’s not unheard of for a lefty to play the position, at least on occasion.
While many like to claim Albert Einstein was a lefty, there is no evidence he actually was. In fact, the photographic evidence points to his being a righty. But one genius who was known to write with his left hand was Nikola Tesla. The inventor of the technology needed for alternating current electricity, Tesla was also known to write with his right hand, having been taught to do so as a child despite his innate left-handedness.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Appointed as a Justice to the United States Supreme Court by another lefty, Bill Clinton, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been a member of the U.S.’s highest court for 16 years.
Not only is comedian Jerry Seinfeld a lefty, but his very first joke was about being left-handed: “So, I am left-handed. Left-handed people do not like that the word left is so often associated with negative things. Left feet. Left-handed compliment. ‘What are we having for dinner? Leftovers.’ You go to a party there is nobody there. ‘Where did everybody go?’ ‘They left!'”
Nicole Kidman, one of the stars of HBO’s Big Little Lies, is most definitely left-handed, as is evident whenever she signs an autograph.
Hilary Swank is among the distinguished southpaws called out by Variety in an analysis of why there are so many lefties in showbiz. Swank is set to receive a lifetime achievement award at the 2019 Locarno International Film Festival for the considerable contributions she’s made to popular culture and the “collective imagination.” Check out these movie trivia facts you won’t believe are true.
Sarah Jessica Parker
Parker is most famous for her role as Carrie Bradshaw in HBO’s Sex and the City, for which she won two Emmy Awards, four Golden Globe Awards for Best Actress in a Comedy Series and three Screen Actors Guild Awards. But her talents include singing (as a child, she played “Annie” in one of Broadways’ original productions of the show by the same name), directing and producing, and writing with her left hand.
Like his wife, Sarah Jessica Parker, Matthew Broderick began his acting career as a kid, making his stage debut at just 17. Also, like his wife, his talents don’t just stop at acting. Although he’s most famous for playing the title role in the 1986 film, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Broderick has also sang and danced his way through The Producers (on film and on Broadway) and has voiced the adult “Simba” in the animated version of The Lion King.
Another multi-talented lefty, Seth Rogen, who began his career as a standup comic in Canada, is not only hilariously funny but an accomplished actor, writer, producer, and director.
An animal lover and journalist-wannabe, young Julia Roberts of Smyrna, Georgia, only tried acting after her brother, Eric, found success in Hollywood. But clearly, she’s a natural, as her career has been going strong since 1988 when she got her first starring role in the film Mystic Pizza.
The Boston Strangler
It turns out that preferring your left hand to your right comes with its own set of risks. Some even go so far as to argue that lefties are more likely than the general population to lean toward criminal behavior. Although that argument hasn’t fully withstood the test of time, there are plenty of criminals who were, in fact, left-handed, including the Boston Strangler, who murdered 11 women across Massachusetts in the 1960s.
Although the handedness of genius artist, Michelangelo Buonarroti (1485 to 1564) may never be known for certain, much evidence points to his having been a natural lefty, including statements made by his apprentice, Raffaello da Montelupo, and scientific analysis of the directions of the lines in his sketches. But what may be most telling is two of Michelangelo’s most famous works depict his subjects as left-handed: The sculpture of the biblical David (who holds a weapon in his left hand) and the Sistine Chapel fresco showing Adam reaching for God’s hand (with his left hand). Here is the real reason why some people are left-handed.
Leonardo da Vinci
Like Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci is no longer alive to ask his hand preference, and he lived in a time when left-handedness was discouraged (in part because it was perceived as “evil”). But scientific analysis of his drawings indicates his having used his left hand to draw. That said, there’s some evidence he became left-handed during his adulthood as a result of an injury to his right hand. Check out these 10 fascinating facts about ambidextrous people.
Charlie Chaplin, shown here in 1916’s The Vagabond, always held his violin with his right hand and his bow with his left, as left-handed folks do.
Paul McCartney is a known lefty, but if you had any doubt, he’s pictured here in 1979, holding the neck of his guitar with his right hand, his left hand poised to play the strings, which is how left-handed people play guitar.
Two of the four Beatles were left-handed. Besides Paul McCartney, the other was Ringo Starr, pictured here smoking a cigarette with his left hand, as lefties do.
Signing signatures with her left hand isn’t just an act for Lady Gaga. She’s actually left-handed. Fun fact: almost all of Gaga’s tattoos are on the left side of her body. Don’t miss these 14 hilarious tweets all lefties will relate to.
Another person to add to the group of famous left-handed people is Oprah Winfrey, shown here, with her pen in her left hand. She’s often depicted in photos gesturing with her left hand as well. Oprah is among the many high-achievers who’ve been observed to be left-handed. Find out 16 things you never knew about left-handed people.
Another high-achiever who favored her left hand is Helen Keller, who became blind and deaf in childhood and yet conquered her challenges to become a well-known author, educator, and political activist. Here she’s shown reading in braille with her left hand.
Michael Collins, astronaut
While rumors persist that astronaut, Buzz Aldrin, is left-handed, photos of Aldrin show him holding writing utensils in his right hand. But his Apollo 11-mate, Michael Collins, while less well-known, is definitely left-handed, as noted by NASA. Here, he’s shown eating with his left hand.
Rod Laver, tennis great
Notice how Australian tennis star, Rod Laver (number one professional tennis player in the world from 1964 through 1970) is holding his tennis racquet in this 1962 photo? With his left hand. As lefties do.
Sandy Koufax, baseball great
Southpaw pitcher, Sandy Koufax, was the youngest player ever to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame (at age 36). He pitched 12 seasons for the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers, from 1955 to 1966—with his left hand. Discover the real reason you’re right-handed or left-handed.
Several of the current members of the royal family are rumored to be left-handed, but only Prince William is ever depicted signing his name with his left hand.
Another Will to join the famous left-handed people club is funnyman and actor Will Ferrell.
Keanu Reeves is known to be left-handed, although if you catch him playing his bass guitar, you’ll notice he does so as a righty. These are the myths about left-handed people we all need to stop believing.
Another famous left-handed actor, Julianne Moore is shown here gesturing with her left hand, which is something left-handed people tend to do.
January Jones, who played Betty Draper on AMC’s Mad Men, is left-handed. Here she’s signing an autograph with her left hand. In many photos, you can see that she’s holding her purse with her right hand, leaving her left hand free, as many lefties tend to do.
Angelina Jolie is many things, including an actress, a producer, a humanitarian, an activist, and a mother. She also makes the list for famous left-handed people.
Microsoft entrepreneur, Bill Gates
Bill Gates is known to be a lefty, as was Steve Jobs, which helps bolster the arguments of scientists that there is a connection between being left-handed and possessing superior language skills and creativity.
Former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez
The late president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, was left-handed. He’s shown here holding a pen in his left hand, poised to sign a document he’s received from the Venezuelan Constituent Assembly at the Congress building in Caracas, Venezuela in 1999.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Long-time Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu, is another left-handed world leader, shown here signing the United Nations guest book with his left hand.
President George H.W. Bush
Three of the last five presidents of the United States have been famous left-handed people, including the late George H.W. Bush, shown here gesturing with his left hand.
President Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton, another recent left-handed U.S. president, holds a pen in his left hand after signing the North American Free Trade Agreement, at the Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. in 1993.
President Barack Obama
Former President Barack Obama is a famous lefty. He’s shown here signing a visitors book on August 7, 2008, at Memorial Park in Nairobi, Kenya, where 248 people died in a terrorist attack. At the time, he was still Senator Barack Obama. His opponent in the 2008 election, John McCain, was also a lefty, so no matter who won that election, the United States would have had a left-handed president that term. Here are more body parts that could determine how smart you are.
Queen Victoria wrote with her right hand but painted with her left—and she was quite the accomplished painter, with her chosen medium being watercolor, as shown here. It’s entirely possible that Queen Victoria naturally favored her left hand but had been coaxed into writing with her right hand by her mother, the Duchess of Kent, who was known to be extremely controlling of Victoria during the young princess’s childhood.
Jack the Ripper
It’s been said that Jack the Ripper was left-handed. This is based on forensic analysis of his crime scenes and of the bodies of his victims. However, no one ever found out who Jack the Ripper really was, which makes it impossible to know for sure if he actually was a lefty.
Other murderers believed to have been left-handed include:
- Billy-the-Kidd (about whom the movie, The Left Handed Gun, was made, starring Paul Newman)
- John Dillinger (who is shown here holding a machine gun with his left hand and a toy gun with his right)
- The Boston Strangler (Albert DeSalvo)
Lefties may be at greater risk for mental disorders and these 9 other hidden dangers of left-handedness.
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